It has been more than 12 years since the promulgation of our present Divine Liturgies book, and what looked like an enormous number of musical settings of the Cherubic Hymn (ten of them!) now make up the basic repertoire in many parishes.
With than in mind – and considering the enormous number of such settings in Slavonic – I would like to offer the three possibilities for new settings in English, to give us greater opportunities to expand our plain chant in English, making use of Slavonic melodies which are already well know. I hope to teach these at the eparchial workshops planned for next year, and they are also keyed to the versions of the base hymns in the Hymnal Project (which will also be covered at next year’s workshops).
The first is for Christmas, using one of our best-known Christmas songs, Joyful news to the whole world (Nova radost’ stala):
The PDF also has the corresponding settings of “We praise you, we bless” you and the Communion Hymns for Christmas and the days that immediately follow it.
The other two are both based on hymns to the Mother of God. The first takes the melody of Rejoice, O purest Mother (Veselisja vo čistot’i), well-known in our churches:
Again, see the PDF for “We praise you, we bless you” and the Communion Hymns for Sunday and for the feasts of the Theotokos.
And here is the PDF, with “We praise you, we bless you” and the Communion Hymns for Sunday and for the Theotokos, to the same melody.
Please try these out; I hope to submit them (and perhaps a few others) to the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission early next year for consideration for regular use in parishes. If you try these out in church, be sure to obtain your pastor’s permission first, as these are NOT official settings (through they use the official texts).
May God bless us all as we prepare to celebrate the birth of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ!